Elections affect the division of resources in society and are occasions for political elites to make appeals rooted in voters’ self-interest. Hence, elections may erode altruistic norms and cause people to behave more selfishly. We test this intuition using Dictator Games in a lab-in-the-field experiment involving a sample of more than 1,000 individuals in Kenya and Tanzania. We adopt two approaches. First, we experimentally prime participants to think about the upcoming or most recent elections and find that this priming treatment reduces how much money participants are willing to give to other players. Second, we compare results obtained across lab rounds in Kenya taking place right before the country’s 2013 national elections and eight months prior, and find that selfishness is greater in the lab round more proximate to the election. Our results suggest that elections may affect social behavior in important—and previously unrecognized—ways.
Hoces de la Guardia, Fernando, Sean Grant, and Edward Miguel. (2020). "A Framework for Open Policy Analysis", forthcoming Science and Public Policy.
The evidence-based policy movement promotes the use of empirical evidence to inform policy decision-making. While several social science disciplines are undergoing a “credibility revolution” focused on openness and replication, policy analysis has yet to systematically embrace transparency and reproducibility. We argue that policy analysis should adopt the open research practices increasingly espoused in related disciplines to advance the credibility of evidence-based policymaking. We first discuss the importance of evidence-based policy in an era of increasing disagreement about facts, analysis, and expertise. We present a novel framework for “open” policy analysis (OPA) and how to achieve it, focusing on examples of recent policy analyses that have incorporated open research practices such as transparent reporting, open data, and code sharing. We conclude with recommendations on how key stakeholders in evidence-based policy can make OPA the norm and thus safeguard trust in using empirical evidence to inform important public policy decisions.